Tools and equipment seemed to be a hot ticket item for local thieves over the past few days, with thousands of dollars in items taken in break-ins around the county.
Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said thefts continue to be rampant around the area and he urged people to look out for their neighbors and themselves, paying close attention to their own predictable movements and those of unfamiliar people who might be roaming their neighborhoods.
“Everyone needs to look out for everyone else,” the sheriff stressed. “We have to be because thieves are out there looking at us, watching what we do. They know our moves.”
While the sheriff acknowledged that no one can be home all the time, he emphasized the good neighbor approach, looking out for things that might seem strange and then reporting it.
“Don’t be afraid to get involved; thieves are counting on that,” Thornton asserted.
And he reminded everyone to change their usual patterns sometimes, throwing off those who would like to sweep in once residents are gone and take their possessions.
It appears that’s exactly what suspects did during several break-ins reported to sheriff’s deputies over the past four or five days, where equipment and tools seemed to be the item of choice.
On Aug. 30, Allen Cannady, Wrights Bridge Road, Garland, reported that someone entered his pump house and removed an assortment of items, including $700 worth of tools, a torch hose, valued at $100; a shop light, valued at $20; an electric motor, valued at $200; assorted motor oil, valued at $100; a bolt gun, valued at $700; and clothing items, valued at $50.
The same day, on Hobbton Highway, owners of Gautier’s Saw Shop reported a break-in, where an undisclosed amount of cash was stolen and equipment damaged. An electric window fan, a printer box and a cash register received a combined $3,600 in damage.
On Boykin Bridge Road, Roseboro, also on Aug. 30, more tools were taken during a break-in at a Prestage farm. Removed during the break-in were a $100 drill; a $50 saw; $800 in other assorted tools; and a battery, valued at $100.
Tools, Thornton said. were a hot ticket item because they were easy to steal and easy to sell.
“They (thieves) take whatever they can get that is quick and easily accessible. Tools are those kind of items. They can get it and be in and out. In most cases, it’s whatever they can get a dollar for or trade for a crack rock. It’s terribly really, but it’s exactly what happens,” the sheriff noted.
Deputies, he said, remained vigilant as they patrol the county, looking for suspicious activity, and he continued to urge residents to do the same, calling, he stressed again, when anything looks out of the ordinary.
“Being proactive is important. Call us, we don’t mind. That call might help us catch someone before they take another person’s property,” Thornton said.